WATERVILLE, Maine — A 31-year-old man is recovering at a Boston hospital after accidentally shooting part of his face off with a rifle Wednesday night, according to police.

Dale Poulin of Waterville and two of his friends were exchanging hunting stories at a College Avenue apartment when the incident occurred, according to Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey.

At one point during the conversation, Poulin went outside to his pickup and brought the high-powered, .270-caliber rifle inside the residence, according to Massey. For reasons unknown to police, Poulin put the gun under his chin as he and his friends continued to drink alcohol and share stories.

Massey said Poulin thought the gun was not loaded when he pulled the trigger, and he never contemplated suicide. The bullet completely tore off the bottom of Poulin’s face, the chief said.

“It’s one of those things where you mix alcohol and weapons and start to do very unsafe things, and you end up with a tragedy,” Massey said.

When police entered the residence, they encountered Poulin sitting in a chair with his entire face torn off below his nose, the chief said.

Poulin’s friends attempted to control the massive bleeding until police and rescue workers could arrive, Massey said. Poulin was somewhat responsive to officer’s questions, and all signs indicate that the shooting was an accident.

Poulin was initially transported to MaineGeneral Hospital before being airlifted by LifeFlight to Maine Medical Center in Portland, Massey said. He was later brought to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where Massey said Poulin is awaiting surgery.

“It looks like he’s going to survive, but he’s going to face some recovery,” said Massey.

Massey said it’s unlikely charges will be filed in connection with the incident, but it serves as a stark reminder of the danger of mixing alcohol and weapons. When Poulin initially arrived at the address, he brought in a bottle of whiskey.

“There’s always a chance something will go very wrong and someone will get hurt,” said Massey.

Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective...